During the second day of Airspace World, ATM Magazine had the pleasure of moderating a panel ‘New airspace infrastructure: vertiports” with great insights from Gema Ferrero Rubiera, Managing Director, Bluenest, Kim Silander, Founder IBG A2M and Kookiejar of Sweden and Hendrik-Jan Van Der Gucht, Managing Director, Skeydrone. We looked at the challenges that still need to be addressed to successfully develop vertiports and make UAM a reality. Regulation was of course a priority on everyone’s mind. Looking across the regions, there is a lot of great activity in the Middle East and the panel felt they could be high in the running to implement UAM and vertiports following the Paris Olympics – who is likely in first place. The industry talks a lot about UAM coming, with a pilot on board, but doesn’t talk about the timeline for UAM without a pilot. This was the final question posed to the panel and predictions came back as 2030 – 2035 - 2040. Which shows there’s still a way for the industry to go before this version of UAM becomes a reality. Are you ready to fly onboard without a pilot? I think we need to do a survey on this topic!

SITA shared with us the latest news related to the project they have been working on with Skysoft-ATM to optimise air traffic. SITA’s OptiFlight solution provides pilots with direct routing recommendations, leveraging machine learning analysing historical data and 4D weather forecasts so that pilots can request their optimised trajectories from ATC. This sounds great, but the problem today is that it’s not integrated and the solution depends on pilots requesting this routing from the ATC organisation they are currently under the control of. This leaves the situation open to chance – that the pilot wants to make this request and the ATCO wants to grant it.

This is where the integration with SkySoft ATM comes into play. The integrated solution will display recommendations on ATC-displays allowing ATCOs to analyse direct route recommendations and integrate them with trajectory management tools, ensuring safety levels are maintained.

As the world of aviation moves towards green financing it will become a imperative to be able to show that your company is taking the appropriate steps towards reduction of fuel usage and CO2. Now would be a great time to start deploying solutions of this type to be ready for these conversations in the future. But if not for a better reason, than helping our global environment in any way possible, why not consider something like this sooner vs. later?

Another interesting conversation was with Osprey Flight Solutions. They are focused on security and provide global aviation risk assessment using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify anomaly detection.  Examples of their current customers are airlines, government organisations (ie TSA), regulators (ie EASA), military forces (mainly Air Force today) and insurance companies. They are also sharing their data with EUROCONTROL, which today would be the pathway to ANSPs.

Their solution is a SaaS platform which provides an intelligence analyser and alerts for clients in areas of interest. Examples of live alerts available to the public can be seen on their homepage. If you think of their service in cyber security terms you can compare it to threat hunting. They are looking for topics of concern and sharing them with their clients. The clients then need to determine what to do with that information. In addition to alerting topics that could impact airspace management or air traffic control, there could also be opportunities to more precisely restrict airspace so not as large of an area is impacted.

During our meeting they shared some impressive indicators they were able to identify related to the war in Ukraine.  I’m looking forward to hearing more from them.